Coronavirus: Ministers challenged about delays in testing drugs; replies about how infections occur and the production of more ventilators. April 2nd Reply asking what assessment they have made of reports about the success of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, following a study carried out by Professor Raoult, director of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire de Marseille


 

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2794):

Question Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports about the success of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, following a study carried out by Professor Raoult, director of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire de Marseille. (HL2794)

Tabled on: 23 March 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different medicines for use in treating COVID-19. Clinical trials are ongoing and being developed to assess the benefits of a number of different medicines in treating COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine is not currently licensed to treat COVID-19 related symptoms or prevent infection. Clinical trials are being established to test hydroxychloroquine as an agent in the treatment of COVID-19. These clinical trials are still not completed, so no conclusions have yet been reached on the safety and effectiveness of this medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Date and time of answer: 02 Apr 2020 at 16:23.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2677):

Question Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that one of the people in the Lombardy cluster may have become infected with COVID-19 after contact with a person who tested negative for COVID-19. (HL2677)

Tabled on: 17 March 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Assessment of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 cases suggests that, similar to SARS-CoV, patients will not be infectious until the onset of symptoms. In most cases, individuals are usually considered infectious while they have symptoms. How infectious individuals are depends on the severity of their symptoms and stage of their illness. Further study is required to determine the actual occurrence and impact of asymptomatic transmission.

Date and time of answer: 31 Mar 2020 at 15:27.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2676):

Question Lord Alton of Liverpool :

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how confident they are that those who have recovered from COVID-19 do not continue to be carriers of the virus; and whether swab tests will be repeated for recovered patients to ensure that such tests remain negative. (HL2676)

Tabled on: 17 March 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

COVID-19 is not known to cause latent infections (becoming dormant in the body after infection and reactivate later on) or to cause persistent infection (continuous infection).

Public Health England is in the process of producing guidance for the conditions of discharge of infected patients from hospitals.

Date and time of answer: 31 Mar 2020 at 15:26.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2675):

Question Lord Alton of Liverpool :

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what response there has been to the Prime Minister’s request for manufacturers to develop ventilators for the NHS; and how many they expect to be produced. (HL2675)

Tabled on: 17 March 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Work preparing the National Health Service has been ongoing and we have already nearly doubled ventilator capacity. New and existing suppliers are being asked to build as many as they can. The Prime Minister has issued a call to United Kingdom industry to produce additional ventilators and the Department asked appropriate potential manufacturers on 13 March to come forward with proposals for new ventilation machines. Around a dozen potential prototypes have now been presented to the Department which we are currently pursuing.

Date and time of answer: 31 Mar 2020 at 15:25.

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In response to yesterday’s parliamentary replies this letter has been sent to  Health Minister Lord Bethell and Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove MP, March 31st:

https://davidalton.net/2020/03/31/coronavirus-government-replies-about-the-benefits-of-the-use-of-tocilizumab-in-the-treatment-of-severe-cases-of-interstitial-pneumonia-linked-to-covid-19-the-current-availability-of-ventilators-in/

 

Dear James,

 

Many thanks for your reply to my Parliamentary Question (below) about the trial of drugs that might be deployed against Coronavirus. I was also grateful to hear Michael Gove’s reference to the potential of some of these drugs.

 

Arising from this could you please let me know which minister is leading the departmental team assessing progress on the trials? 

 

How often have they met to review trials underway? 

 

Are they geared up to recruit the patients needed for the randomised trials (on the BBC on Sunday the lead investigator at Oxford University on hydracholoroquin says he needs 3000 patients urgently). 

 

Why couldn’t the same professor get tested when he suspected having Covid19 himself? 

 

These scientists are our best hope right now – more than a vaccine. How often is the minister speaking to the WhO led trial teams? 

 

When a drug shows signs of promise, how will the minister decide to shift resources towards it? 

 

Have they been having conversations with drug suppliers about gearing up to get these to the NHS frontline?

 

You rightly blocked export of malaria and HIV drugs weeks ago but the trials into them have only just been commissioned. Why has there been this delay?

 

I am copying in Michael Gove.

 

With kind regards 

 

 

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